The Bitch to Buy Ratio

Robert Terson

I was at a Cubs game this past season with a friend of mine who’s in the heating and air conditioning business; he works for one of the major companies—a name you would immediately recognize—and deals directly with a number of their dealers in the Midwest. It’s his job to help these dealers increase sales to the public. Since I have no desire to cause him any grief, I’ll refer to him as Craig, an alias.

It was from Craig I first heard the term “Bitch to Buy Ratio,” which refers to the amount of grief a customer gives you, in juxtaposition to the profits he provides. Alas, we all have experienced customers who dish out more grief than the amount of money we earn serving them is worth; or so it subjectively seems. A number of my colleagues in North America’s Best have written articles on this subject. The big question these articles always ask is, When is “enough” enough? When is it time to fire a customer?

In my early 20s, before I got into the telephone-book-cover advertising business, I sold residential real estate for three fearful, undisciplined years—unfortunately, not all that successfully. Trust me, “fearful” and “undisciplined” do not lead to “success.” I recall selling a house to a man who, after the contract was accepted, repeatedly pushed for additional concessions from the seller; he was totally out of line, but I was so fearful of losing the sale that I gave in to him each time. Two years later I was taught to sell fearlessly and emphatically would have said no to his outrageous demands. When a salesperson can walk away from a bad deal or an abusive customer (when the Bitch to Buy Ratio is completely out of sync), the balance of power shifts in favor of the salesperson.

You have only so much time to work. You want to spend that time productively. You want to enjoy your work, not dread it. Why put up with a prospect/customer whom you dread calling on and causes you to lose sleep at night? Why put up with a never-ending deluge of moaning, groaning, and complaining from a whiner who isn’t paying you nearly enough to take all his crap?

You don’t have to!

Fire him! Let him dish out his nonsense to some other unsuspecting salesperson. The glory of sales is that there will always be plenty of other fish in the sea for you to go after.

Sometimes in life we have to cut our losses and move on. Keep that in mind when the Bitch to Buy Ratio gets out of hand, when your instincts tell you it’s time to fire the SOB and replace him with someone you’ll truly enjoy doing business with; someone who will be worth your precious time.



Have you taken Jill Konrath’s Sales & LinkedIn Survey yet? If not, please do so now—it’s vitally important and it’ll only take you 2 minutes! The survey is designed to answer a number of important questions you should be interested in. What do you get out of it? As soon as the survey results are ready, Jill will send you a copy. You’ll find out the best way to use LinkedIn to drive sales—no small thing! Please take the survey now: